The American author, critic and essayist Carmen Maria Machado was born in 1986. She grew up in Allentown, north of Philadelphia. Machado attended the Iowa Writersʼ Workshop and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Her essays and literary texts have appeared in »The New Yorker«, »Granta«, »Guernica«, »McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern«, and other magazines and anthologies.
In »Her Body and Other Parties«, published in 2017, Machado explores the consequences of what women do to themselves and their bodies and the pain that is inflicted upon them. In a story about a young couple, the man takes control of his wifeʼs body after the wedding; she always does what is expected of her. He never gives up this control, going as far as giving the doctor instructions on how to stitch his wife up after she gave birth. The texts of the volume also deal with cosmetic surgeries, the skinny craze, and lesbian relationships; they mix horror fairy tales with pornography and science fiction. Since the book was first published at the time of the emergence of the #MeToo movement, many of the bookʼs motifs and statements are highly topical and embedded in the context of feminist discourse about traditional role models: »Machadoʼs stories reflect the current age in which women are no longer willing to accept that their gender and bodies can be used against them« (»Spiegel«). Machadoʼs memoir »In the Dream House« (2019) was awarded the Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Nonfiction in 2020. The memoir describes an abusive relationship with a woman while studying in Iowa.
Machado has received a number of grants from various institutions, including the Elizabeth George Foundation, the University of Iowa, and the University of Pennsylvania. She received a Guggenheim scholarship in 2019. In 2017, she was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and has won, among others, the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle and the Bard Fiction Prize. The author lives in Philadelphia.
Watch Carmen Maria Machado at the 20th ilb on our YouTube-Channel: